Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Rhoden disputes AP abortion-stand story

State Rep. Larry Rhoden, R-Union Center, said an Associated Press story in Monday's Journal inaccurately interpreted comments he made in an interview about Referred Law 6, the state abortion ban he helped pass during the 2006 South Dakota Legislature. The ban contains no exceptions for rape or incest. Rhoden said the AP story did not accurately reflect his views.The story quoted Rhoden, the House majority leader, as saying: "I've spent a great deal of time and thought wondering if it would have been wiser to write in the exceptions. We have a long row to hoe based on the numbers I've seen."Rhoden didn't dispute the accuracy of the quotes, but he said the story put together the two statements that he made at separate points in an interview granted three weeks ago to suggest that he had second thoughts about the abortion ban, HB1215, because it was behind in the polls at that time.The quotes were introduced by a paraphrase: "He (Rhoden) was swayed by women's testimony that their abortions left emotional scars, but now aware of polls showing his side behind he has second thoughts."Rhoden said he stated during the AP interview that he indeed did have questions about the lack of exceptions, but he explained that those questions came during and immediately after the legislative session, not after the bill was referred to a public vote and certainly not after seeing any poll numbers.On Monday, Rhoden said his questions were simply normal doubts and have not shaken his longstanding belief in banning all abortions except when needed to save the life of a pregnant woman.

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